Chuck Terrill: Upended

Wednesday, March 27, 2019

In the springtime, a young man's heart turns to love.

I think that old maxim is true. It was for me, anyway, during my high school years (Yes, I do remember something about those days!). I think we should add something to the maxim, though. It would be better said, "A young man's heart turns to love as he switches off his brain." That was my experience.

When I was in school, a nice car would almost guarantee an attractive girlfriend, and I needed all the help I could get. There was an unwritten, but well-understood law: "Thou, foxy chick, shalt not ride in, nor be seen in a 1966 Ford station wagon."

Girls wouldn't be seen in one, either. This was an unbreakable law, tantamount to the laws of the Medes and Persians, forever carved in stone. Real babes rode in Real cars. When I was a teen if you didn't have a cool set of wheels, you could just about forget it when it came to girls.

So, I had spent all of my hard-earned gas station attendant money on a car. It wasn't originally a real set of wheels, but I had worked steadily to transform it. It was close to finished, and I had fantasized about giving Judy a ride (All of you boys will remember Judy. She wore the mini-est of the mini-skirts in the mini-skirt era). And then it happened! Judy asked me to give her a ride home after school. Me! She didn't have to ask twice!

I had long anticipated a beautiful spring day like this. My 1953 robin's egg blue Chevy was polished and prime, a labor of love. I had just installed the finishing touch. Bucket seats. Red leather, from a 1966 salvage yard Thunderbird. I felt like the entire student body was watching as Judy and I climbed into the car.

We rumbled across the black topped parking lot to the stop sign at the entrance to the street.

"Vroom, vroom!" I revved up the Chevy to get attention. Every eye was glued to that Chevy, Judy, and me. I basked in the pride of being the envy of every boy in school. Judy was pristinely poised on her red leather throne. I grinned at the guys, revved it up again, popped the clutch, and squealed down the street.

I turned to smile at Judy, but to my amazement, she was not there! Judy had been replaced by two inverted, chalky white, chubby legs that were aimed heavenward and were vigorously flailing back and forth in space! I was astonished! I visually traced those pale chubby legs to their source and immediately realized they were attached to the backside of Judy.

I had set Judy's seat in place, but I had forgotten to bolt it to the floor.

There she was, my foxy babe, in all her glory. I screeched to the curb and ran around the car to help her up. She stomped off toward home, never to ride with me again. I don't think Judy had much of a sense of humor. I laughed and laughed, though (I think she heard me).

Judy and I both learned some valuable lessons that day. She learned to never ride with me again. And me? I saw a side of Judy that I had never seen before. I also learned that some things are just not what they appear to be.

The prestige I had desired and eagerly sought through my car and Judy was useless. What I had done was shallow and vain. Judy was not the goddess I had imagined her to be. She was a vulnerable human being, and so was I.

I learned a lot that day. I now know that "Pride goes before destruction, and a haughty spirit before a fall" (Proverbs 16:18, NASV). Sometimes that's a hard lesson to learn.

Yes, I learned a lot that day. No matter how hard I try, I know it will be impossible for me to forget what I learned that day. I learned truths, important truths. It happened 47 years ago, but I still haven't forgotten what I learned that day.

Judy wore a girdle!

I have been dying to get that off my chest. It feels good.

Chuck Terrill, who has doctorates from Master Theological Seminary and Trinity Seminary, is the senior minister at First Christian Church in Cassville. He may be reached at 471-847-2460.